Gap v. Lincoln a.k.a. Matthew McConaughey & the VOC

Alright, alright, alright,. In case you missed it, there were two advertising campaigns launched around the same time that recently garnered a lot of interest in the ad world, and they both have pretty similar themes.

Gap recently went through a brand overhaul. They went with a darker, sexier angle, and they hired the perfect director to compliment their new look, David Fincher.

If you’re unfamiliar with Fincher, he’s the director of The Social Network and Fight Club, (yes, it is super ironic that the director of one of the most anti-corporate movies is directing commercials for a large, corporate retail brand) but his big break came after directing Seven—a movie that took the detective genre to a new level of darkness.

The other campaign that launched right around the time of the Gap campaign was for Lincoln’s new car, the MKC. It’s directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (the director of Drive, a 2011 crime drama) and it stars Matthew McConaughey, who’s performance calls to mind his recent role as the enigmatic police detective, Rust Cohle, in HBO’s drama series True Detective (which, coincidentally, owes a major debt to Seven).

Lincoln knew that using McConaughey was almost a sure thing from the get-go. We are, after all, in the middle of a "McConaissance" (McConaughey’s renaissance). Not only is he hot off an Oscar win and a star performance in the most critically acclaimed freshman T.V. show of the year, McConaughey has the lead role in Christopher Nolan’s first movie post-Batman trilogy. Essentially, all Lincoln had to do to capture the voice of the customer, was look at any pop culture site to see that McConaughey’s popular appeal is soaring (although they probably conducted extensive market research to see if this would resonate with their target demographic), and capitalize on the public’s interest in seeing him play mysterious, complicated roles.

These two campaigns could have been in a dogfight to establish dominance—they both used some serious cinematic artistry and have big Hollywood names attached to them—but Lincoln blew Gap out of the water. Gap’s ads are still trying to find their footing in the public eye, while the Lincoln campaign blew up on social media and has already been spoofed by late night T.V. The public has spoken, and they love McConaughey.

Trends won’t always be as obvious or as sure of a bet as the McConaissance, so you have to collect your customers’ feedback to really know what will work and what will fall flat. Even the best ideas can end up puzzling or turning off customers. To learn how to collect insightful feedback from your customers, sign up for our webinar, Voice of the Customer: Big Data as a Strategic Advantage to get the big picture. Alright, alright, alright…


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